I went to Amed with 04 kids, and Lis and David were just amazing with us, helped me find babysitterfor my toddlers so even I could join the amazing diving course. Their attitude was incredible, friendly, receptive, always willing to help. And the course and instructor was just amazing. We had really a great time and there is no way I go back to Amed without staying with her and diving with Adventure Divers!!!!!!
This is a tricky review as, in all my many years of travelling the world, I have never quite had a experience like the one I just had at Bukit Malas villa in Amed.
I travelled with my 2 sons of 5 and 6, our nanny from the UK who is very much part of our family and my cousin. So it was a mixed party of kids, a 23 year old, a 28 year old and myself, 38.
First the good:
1. Absolutely beautiful villa. Stunningly done, bathrooms like something in a design magazine, really, really gorgeous.
2. Lovely, sweet (if sometimes slightly clueless, staff). Always keen to please and to make guests happy. They were a delight with my sons with one young man even babysitting for us for 2 evenings so we could go for supper which is quite a challenge if the boys are awake!
3. Great breakfast included at any time in the morning with no pressure to pick a time slot or make choices the night before.
4. the lovely lady who works in the house did our laundry for us.
5. when our nanny had an ear infection, David, the owner, sourced antibiotic drops for her, advised ibuprofen (which was a great help) and told us we could get one of the staff to drive to the village to get oral antibiotics for her and this really was appreciated.
1.Location - the villa is at the top of a VERY steep hill in one of the series of little villages/hamlets that make up Amed and run along a 7km stretch. If you want to do any walking you need to bear this in mind along with the fact that, unless happy to walk on an unlit and unpavemented road for a couple of km, you can only access a couple of restaurants. The beach here is narrow and made up of black stones and was not somewhere we would want to spend the day. So if you have unfit/elderly/very young people with you then, unless you have your own transport in the form of mopeds or a car getting places will be tricky.
2. Internet - this is unusable. In the 6 nights we were there it worked once at a tolerable speed at 8am in the morning. The rest of the time none of the 3 adults could access emails, use basic sites such as tripadvisor to look up restaurants etc. We werent trying to download big files or do anything requiring much speed but, regardless of thr insistence of the owner, it did not work for us on handheld devices, ipads, kindle or laptops. Interestingly it did work in the cafe at the bottom of the hill, in various cafes on the main road in amed and at the bungalows owned by the villa owners. I also ended up spending £80 on data from my service provider so that I could check in for a flight, make a bank transfer and check work emails. Not that we particularly cared but may be relevant for some - the satellite tv advertised also didn't work - I think they needed to top up their card but the message was in Indonesian so I couldn't read it.
3. Security- despite assurances from the owners when we arrived that the area is extremely safe we were keen not to void our insurance by leaving the villa open if no one was there. We were told that there would be someone overseeing the villa 24 hours a day so locking it was not an issue. However, I returned one day to find the villa empty from 12.30 to 3pm and the door open.
3. Disturbances/wildlife. WhilSt we were there the guard dog belonging to the villa next door barked incessantly. This was tolerable in the day but, for the first 4 of 6 nights, this happened for an hour or so in the middle of the night and at 5am. I ended up having to email the villa owner next door to ask her to sort it out. As an aside, the villa adjoining bukit malas with this poor dog also had a monkey tied by the tail that would jump on the wall between the 2 villas which we found extremely sad. It did not appear, in our opinion, that these animals had a very happy life - the dog was clearly extremely distressed most of the time and when I went round to try to find someone to quieten it down, it appeared absolutely terrified of me.
4. Wildlife part 2 - we were charmed by the lizards and the frogs which jumped around the common areas. We were less thrilled by the mice in the 4th bedroom and the mice that ran around the kitchen at night. We addressed the bedroom mice with Kadek, the day manager and we think he got rid of them.
5. The view - this would usually have been stunning however the owner was building another villa below ours and so part of our view was a building site. Our 4th bedroom was in part of this site and so my nanny had wet concrete outside her little house and a direct view of the building site. I don't know whether, when built, this new villa will obscure the view of the sea.
This was the most unfortunate part of our experience. A month prior to arriving, having paid 2 nights deposit for a 4 bedroom villa which, on checking my emails I had been reassured of twice, I received the following in an email - 'We have now separated the guest house from the villa and are using it as the basis for a new smaller villa adjacent to the original property. This means Villa Bukit Malas is now a 3 bedroom villa. It is still capable of accommodating up to 10 guests as extra beds can be added to all of the rooms.'
To be fair when I rang the owner, alarmed, I was promised we could keep the 4th bedroom and we did get to but in the state specified above.
I can only imagine that this put us on the back foot with the owner as, other than our initial arrival briefing where we were assured of pick ups and drop offs and we're informed of the 4 restaurants in the area that offered these and were also provided with a phone to contact the owners and staff, relations degenerated.
When we did call for a lift the owner was short with us leading me to ask for a taxi number so that we could sort our selves out, something I was completely happy to shell out for just to give us the freedom and autonomy to move about as we pleased and to do things like visit a bar for a drink after dinner at one of the reataurants which would pick you up. It took considerable negotiation to get this number as Lisa and her husband simply couldn't understand why we would want it.
From here on in relations got worse and worse. On a number of occasions we rang for a lift to the beach and the owner suggested that I put my 2 kids on the back of a motorbike despite insisting before we came that I was not comfrtable with them going on bikes, particularly without helmets which we do not own. I had made this very clear in emails before arrival saying that it was key for us to be somewhere we can walk to reach places from.
We complained about the Internet numerous times and nothing was fixed. The dvd player was broken and the owners husband turned up midway through our supper with his technician and simply told us the Internet worked for him and should be fine. At no point did he apologise for this constant issue, instead implying that we were making it up. Eventually the technician realised the dvd player was broken and got a new one. Again, no apology for accusing us of not knowing how to use it properly.
By the time the house was left open by thr staff when they went out I was deeply uncomfortable with the atmosphere between ourselves and the owners and the way they talked to us. When I addressed this issue I was told 'the staff are there, they are just in the garden'. The garden is not big and I had walked around it and the building site to see if anyone was about and had also tried to call the housekeeper twice but his phone wasn't working. To be accused of misrepresenting the truth was highly offensive particularly as, if the villa had been robbed, our insurance policies would have been null and void and I had left out my work laptop and the kids ipads assuming that staff were around. Later that evening the husband of the owner called me to say that our nanny had specifically requested that all the staff leave and give her privacy ( obviously what his staff had told him). I hadn't been there so passed him over to her and he accused her of this. She was left so upset by the exchange that she told me she felt uncomfortable staying in a villa owned by these people and was going to continue to come to work but would stay somewhere else. The next day she became ill and was unable to move. Since then the he owners confirmed that, in fact, the staff had left for the day of their own volition but, again, no apology at all.
With the dog barking situation we felt so deeply uncomfortable with the atmosphere and the way in which the owners addressed any concerns that I ended up finding the next door villa online and emailing the owner myself. After 2 hours of consistent barking we also let the owners of our villa know.
I can only imagine that the owners are having a difficult time due to some other cause as you just do not behave like this to anyone - let alone a customer. By the night of day 3 we were ready to leave but my cousin who had come to see us from Sydney had only 1 night left and I just felt the upheaval for her was too much when she only had 4 nights in total with us. If you work in a service industry you need to be able to take feedback from customers, apologise and get it fixed not simply challenge everything the customer says. I am not suggesting the customer is always right but at least humouring the customer whilst you investigate the situation would be reassuring. I have really never experienced such rudeness, it was absolutely extraordinary - particularly when the husband would phone us and have the wife yelling at him to tell him what to ask/say in the background. We couldn't understand why she wouldn't talk to us herself.
What this villa wpuld benefit from is a clear manual which shows where stuff is locally, tells you about the restaurants, contains a number of taxi numbers, makes suggestions of where to go and what to do and is completely clear about who the staff all are and what their working hours are and when you should lock the house. They could include the fact that laundry is included which is a nice touch. The phone is a great touch but, to save the owners the amount of stress it appeared to cause them to run a busy dive schol, a guest house and a villa, a booklet would be useful as would some basic training of the evening staff so that they can fix problems such as the trip switch going, the tv not working etc without having to bother the owner. They just seem to have taken on more that they could cope with in a civil manner which is sad as it is a lovely villa.
In addition, as they have so many staff working there, why don't they get them to check everything works in the villa before guests arrive? They are not particularly busy and there is a lot of looking at phones and smoking going on, there is definitely time for this.
I paid up today and, again, at no point was an apology given for any of the issues faced even though I reiterated that the wifi at their cottages seemed to work. I was really saddened - it was at this point that I would have apologised profusely and made it up to the guests and, in fact, offered a discount to apologise.
So all in all, I could not ever recommend a stay here even if this was simply the owners having a bad week.
ps if you have booked to stay here already you can use the wifi in the hotel at the bottom of the hill - its a pleasant place to have a drink and the internet works. This is what we had to resort to. In addition, once you get a taxi number, they cost c.75-100,000 one way to the beach so not too bad and c.200,000 back from Jemeluk at night
Beautiful villa up the hills in very quiet setting. Tasteful interior and stunning garden with sea view. Staff is super friendly and make sure the villa is always clean and cook excellent breakfast. Sea access with great snorkelling is just 5 min walk away. Great for staying with friends / family and also recommend the dive club owned by the same people.
I can't say enough good things about our stay here. The house is beautiful, unique, well-appointed, CLEAN, and convenient. Plenty of bedrooms (with great bathrooms) for our group of 8. The pool is inviting and the gardens are gorgeous. Fragrant Plumeria blossoms rain down from the trees as you relax on the pool deck. The breakfast is delicious. We LOVED the banana pancakes. (I asked for the recipe so I could make them at home.) Liselotte and David are excellent hosts - extremely responsive and flexible. Liselotte helped out graciously with our many requests including a driver for 8 with tons of luggage from the airport, dinner from a local restaurant delivered to the villa upon our arrival, and all the arrangements for 3 days of diving for 8 people. We spent time in 2 other villas - one in Ubud and another Semanyak - after we left Amed, but nothing compared to Villa Bukit Malas.
Amazing villa with amazing views. Very comfortable and could have easily stayed in the villa during my whole time in Amed. Staff and super attentive and friendly. I would definitely recommend it, planning to go there next year again.
Couldn't have found a better place for my first stay in Bali. would be happy recomend it to everybody.
Stunning villa!! The views, the garden, the pool, the beds, THE BATHROOMS, the garden.. it was like out of the travel shows you see on tv. Would highly recommend :)